As many as 40 million Americans are afflicted by more than 70 types of sleep disorders. Whether it is insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea, the consequences of sleep disorders, especially the "problem sleepiness" during the day that normally follows, can have extremely serious—even life-threatening—consequences.
Effects of Sleep Disorders
Sleep is as essential to your well-being as a healthy diet and exercise. Chronic lack of sleep can:
- Increase blood pressure.
- Contribute to stress and weight gain.
- Affect your judgment, leading to car accidents and poor work performance.
Types of Sleep Disorders
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when something partly or completely blocks your upper airway, making your diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to pull air into the lungs.
- Central Sleep Apnea occurs when brain function causes breathing to be regularly disrupted during sleep.
- Insomnia is difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
- Hypersomnia is excessive daytime sleepiness or excessive time spent sleeping.
- Parasomnias include arousals such as nightmares, night terrors and sleepwalking that typically occur during REM sleep.
- REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is characterized by the acting out of intense dreams with behaviors that include talking, yelling, punching, kicking, sitting, grabbing, arm flailing and jumping from the bed.
- Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders disrupt the “internal body clock” that regulates sleep patterns.
- Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder occurs when a person gradually goes to bed successively later every night and wakes up later each day.
- Periodic Limb Movement Disorders such as restless leg syndrome is characterized by rhythmic movements of the limbs during sleep.
- Narcolepsy affects the control of sleep and wakefulness, and can include uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime.
Diagnosing Sleep Disorders
To better understand a sleep condition, Dignity Health Medical Foundation neurologists will first perform a physical exam and gather information about your symptoms and medical history. They may also order tests including:
- Polysomnography — a sleep study that evaluates oxygen levels, body movements, and brain waves to determine how they disrupt sleep.
- Electroencephalogram — a test that assesses electrical activity in the brain and detects any potential problems associated with this activity.
- Genetic blood testing — a blood test commonly used to diagnose narcolepsy and other underlying health conditions that might be causing sleeping problems.
Meet Dr. Beyer
Dr. Richard Beyer has dedicated much of his 30+ tenure to studying and treating sleep disorders. Director of the Woodland Sleep Disorders Center, Dr. Beyer continues to work with his patients to see and recognize both the expected and unexpected presentations of both common and uncommon diseases, leading to a personalized approach to diagnosis and treatment. Learn more.
Sleep Disorder Center
Accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Woodland’s Sleep Disorder Center offers the latest in digital technology for assessing patients’ sleep problems. In collaboration with a comprehensive team of pulmonologists (respiratory specialists), psychologists and otolaryngologists (ear, nose & throat doctors), our sleep specialists work with patients and their sleep partner to help diagnose and treat sleep disorders. Depending on individual symptoms, treatment may be as simple as better sleep habits, or it may involve special breathing equipment.
Woodland Sleep Disorder Center
515 Fairchild Court
Woodland, CA 95695
Phone: (530) 668-2600
If you think you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor about a referral to one of Woodland’s sleep disorders specialists.